sad news

New York

Frank Macchiarola, longest-serving chancellor until Klein, dies

Frank Macchiarola, schools chancellor from 1978 to 1983, died today at age 71. City officials and longtime education insiders today are mourning the death of Frank Macchiarola, who served as chancellor from 1978 to 1983. After he resigned to lead a business and civic group, no chancellor had a tenure as long until Joel Klein. In fact, even though previous city superintendents had held office for longer, Macchiarola was the longest-serving chancellor until Klein: The title was created when legislators decentralized the city's school governance in 1970. Most chancellors during the period of community control ran into trouble with mayor, who nominated them, or the Board of Education, which hired and fired them, but Macchiarola — who started the job at age 37 — left on good terms with Mayor Ed Koch, the board, and the teachers union. "His tenure as schools chancellor under Mayor Koch proved that bold reforms were possible and helped set the stage for the work we’ve done over the past decade," Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement today, and his chancellor, Dennis Walcott, said in a statement of his own that Macchiarola "was instrumental in redefining the role of the principal as the key leader of a school community." Here's how the city's principals union, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, described Macchiarola's tenure today: He revitalized direct services to students, opened schools to the community after hours, developed a curriculum and instruction program that served as a national model, relentlessly strived to strengthen special education, and placed a huge emphasis on offering educational support to financially disadvantaged children.